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A typical job interview consists of technical questions, general questions, and a series of carefully-worded behavioral questions to determine whether you’d be a good fit for the company. Taking some time to properly prepare can leverage your position in the hiring process. Here are some of the most common STAR interview questions.
We all want to do everything possible to ensure we’re completely ready for a job interview, including anticipating what questions the hiring manager might ask. While researching, you might’ve heard about the STAR interview approach. This method is designed to help you respond to situational questions that assess your behavior and approach to work. But what exactly are these questions?
In this blog post, we’ll discuss:
How to prepare for STAR interview questions
Common mistakes to avoid while answering STAR interview questions
15 most commonly-asked STAR interview questions
STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result. This approach focuses on creating a compelling story that showcases your strengths and key skills. Such an approach is likely to create a positive impact on the interviewer.
To prepare for a STAR interview question, think of a situation that’s relevant to the question. Then, talk about the specific task you were trying to complete. Next, describe the action you took to achieve the desired result and what you accomplished.
Here is an example of a STAR interview question and answer:
Can you describe a time when you went above and beyond your regular job responsibilities for a task?
Situation: “During my time as a digital content creator at ABC Ltd, one of the clients was extremely unhappy with the work and threatened to cancel their order. Since the client had purchased our premium writing package, we had to do whatever we could to save the project.”
Task: “The project was then reassigned to me, and I was tasked to save it. The project brief was vague, so we knew we needed more information about the project.”
Action: “I agreed to hop on a conference call with the client and the account manager to better understand their needs. I prepared a series of questions aimed at understanding the client’s core products, target market, unique selling proposition, and buyer persona. Based on the feedback received from the client, I created a comprehensive content plan with different blog titles, keywords, and blurbs to explain our strategy. We then agreed on a timeline, by which time I was able to send them the first three blog posts for an initial review.”
Result: “This time around, the client was pleased with the work. The newly created content covered some of the services the client was providing and how they could benefit the reader. As a result, we were able to save the order and received another order for the next month’s content.”
The first mistake to avoid is not actually answering the question. You may have a great example of managing a conflict, but if the interviewer asks about a time you didn’t meet your goals, that won’t be helpful! If you don’t have a specific example, you could say, “I haven’t run across that scenario in my professional career, but if I did I would. . .”
Secondly, ensure your story showcases your best achievement. It may seem obvious, but choose a strategic example that shows how you surpassed expectations. Don’t be afraid of bragging; this is your chance to display how you can benefit the company.
Lastly, don’t forget to talk about the bottom line. Avoid being vague and include metrics whenever possible. How did your actions help you achieve positive results and impact the company’s bottom line? Failing to link your story to a positive outcome could potentially irk the interviewer and impact your chances of making it to the second round of the hiring process.
The list of STAR interview questions is endless, given the fact that each question is tailored according to the industry, the job role itself, and the qualifications of the interviewee. That said, here are 15 examples of common STAR interview questions that might be asked during your next job interview:
Can you describe a situation where you managed a conflict at work?
Can you describe a situation where you displayed leadership at work?
Have you recently acquired a new skill and how has it helped you at your job?
Have you ever handled a disagreement with your supervisor? How did you do it?
Can you tell us about a time you motivated your team members to achieve results?
Can you describe a situation where you had to finish a project with a tight deadline?
Can you describe a situation where you met a significant goal or completed a major project? How did you manage to make it happen?
Can you give us an example of a situation where you didn’t meet your goals? How did you respond to that situation and what did you learn?
Did you ever have to reprimand a subordinate when they failed to meet their target? How did you handle the situation and what did you do?
Can you tell us about a time where you had to manage a major change at work? For instance, moving to a work-from-home setup or having a new software implemented?
Describe a situation where things didn’t go your way. Why did it happen and what lessons did you learn?
Tell us about a time when you had to make a tough, unpopular decision at work. What was the decision and what did you do to mitigate the impact on your team members?
Can you tell us about a stressful situation at work? What happened, how did you manage your stress, and what steps did you take to fix the situation?
Can you tell us about a time when you had to go above and beyond your day-to-day responsibilities for your company?
How do you go around setting goals for your team members? What methodologies do you use to set fair and reasonable goals?
Are you nervous about an upcoming job interview? Let us help you prepare for the interview and improve your chances of making it to the next round.
In any job interview, you’re likely to encounter a number of behavioral questions designed to assess your personality and general approach to work.
The best way to answer behavioral questions is to use the STAR method, which focuses on a situation, task, action.
When using the STAR approach, make sure that the situation relates to the question and showcases a key skill that helped you succeed.
Asad is a digital content creator and recruiter. Since 2014, he has written on a wide variety of topics, including technology, finance, human resources, and marketing. Throughout his professional career, Asad has recruited and trained content writers for various software companies and marketing agencies, and he enjoys mentoring new immigrants in Canada on job interview best practices and networking techniques.